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 Press Release - 2/26/2001

Media contact: Paul Looney, 205-391-2352
Doug Perry, 205-391-2277

February 26, 2001


Music Man Star Joins Capote and Mockingbird In
Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame Induction March 16

Tuscaloosa, Ala...The Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame will induct three members in a gala ceremony Friday March 16 on the campus of Shelton State Community College. Broadway star Rebecca Luker headlines the 2001 class of honorees, along with a posthumous award to celebrated writer Truman Capote and a special honor to the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird. Tickets are on sale now for the third annual event. The selection committee considered more than 100 nominees with major international careers before choosing Rebecca Luker and the other two honorees according to ceremony producer Paul Looney. This year's recipients have provided us all with countless hours of laughter and tears. Their selection reflects Alabama's pride in her native sons and daughters, he said in announcing the Hall of Fame class of 2001.

Birmingham native Rebecca Luker captured the hearts of Broadway in her debut as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Currently she enthralls New York audiences nightly as Marian the Librarian in Meredith Willsonís The Music Man. A Tony nominee for her role in Showboat, she earned an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for her role as Maria in The Sound of Music and a Drama Desk nomination for her work in The Secret Garden. Other performance venues for the University of Montevallo graduate have included the David Letterman Show, the La Jolla (Calif.) Playhouse where she received a Drama-Logue Award, Carnegie Hall, where she has performed frequently, and appearances with major symphony orchestras around the world. Recording credits include Anything Goes: Rebecca Luker Sings Cole Porter, the original Broadway cast recordings of The Secret Garden and The Music Man, Aria, Aria 2, Wonderful Town Jerome Kern Treasury, Broadway Showstoppers, Brigadoon and Strike Up the Band.

In selecting To Kill a Mockingbird for honors, the selection committee cited the 1962 film as "the quintessential Alabama movie." Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird was praised for its enlightened social conscience and evocative atmosphere. The film won Oscars for Best Screenplay (Horton Foote), Best Actor (Gregory Peck), and Best Art Direction-Set Direction (Alexander Golitzen and Henry Bumstead). Nominations included Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Mulligan), Best Cinematography (Russell Harlan), Best Supporting Actress (Mary Badham), and Best Music Score (Elmer Berstein).

Casting for the movie caused as much stir in Alabama, as did the selection of ìScarlettî thirty years earlier. All of Alabama took notice when two children from Birmingham were selected to play ìJemî and ìScoutî. The young Phillip Alford and Mary Badham were naturals for the roles, with Mary receiving an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal. Alford and Badham will both be on hand on March 16 when To Kill a Mockingbird is inducted into the Stage and Screen Hall of Fame.

Born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans on September 30, 1924, Truman Capote called Alabama home from the age of four when his mother sent him to Monroeville to live with relatives. These early years in Alabama informed much of Capote's writing. Capote's works with strong Alabama connections include A Christmas Memory, which he published in 1966 and in 1967 adapted for a television production filmed in Montgomery starring Geraldine Page. A Thanksgiving Visitor (1967) and The Grass Harp, a play he wrote in 1952, both draw extensively on his recollections of growing up in Monroeville.

His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, features a boy growing up in the Deep South. His success a decade later with Breakfast at Tiffany's, which became a blockbuster film starring Audrey Hepburn, helped ensure Capote's place as a screen writer. Truman Capote was drawn to the glittering life of celebrities and jetsetters. Hardly a month passes today without a major magazine illustrating an article about the 1960's and 1970's including photographs of Truman Capote and his legendary friends at work and, more frequently, at play. Accepting the award will be Jennings Faulk Carter. Mr. Carter, Capote's first cousin and childhood companion, shared his recollections of Truman's early years in Monroeville for the 1998 biography A Bridge of Childhood - Truman Capote's Southern Years by Marianne M. Moates.

The 2001 Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame Selection Committee includes: Jean Galloway, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Mobile; Courtney Parker Murphy of the Alabama Film Commission; Ron Harris of Lee High School in Huntsville; Mark Hughes Cobb of The Tuscaloosa News; theatre historian and designer John Ross; actress and arts advocate Lisa Paden Gaines; Dr. Jim Vickrey, Chairman of the Department of Theatre at Troy State University; Becky Ryals, Performing Arts Director for the Alabama State Council on the Arts; and Doug Perry and Paul Looney of Theatre Tuscaloosa.

The Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala will be held Friday, March 16 at the Bean-Brown Theatre in the Tuscaloosa Fine Arts Centre on the campus of Shelton State Community College, 9500 Old Greensboro Road in Tuscaloosa. The gala evening begins with a cocktail party and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. The Induction Ceremony, featuring a talented group of performers paying tribute to each honoree, begins at 8 p.m. followed by a dinner dance. Honorary Chair for the 2001 event is Susan Buckley. Gala Event Chairs are Sandra Ray and Sheila Warner who are working with a large group of volunteers.

Tickets for the black-tie event may be purchased by calling 205-391-2277 or 391-2352.



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